Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID Student Journal: They say college is the best four years of your life and I was truly starting to feel that way with how things were going.

(Student submission Spring 2020)

Dear journal,

My second semester of college in Tallahassee was in full swing as I was fully comfortable staying away from home and truly formed friendships that will last a lifetime.  My grades were up and I for sure found my rhythm and balance of friends and school and on top of that being on my own helped me grow up and perfect the art of time management.  

They say college is the best four years of your life and I was truly starting to feel that way with how things were going.  Although spring break was approaching and talks of this new virus that made it to the United States began to grow and so did the rumors.  As I started to talk to friends around my dorm they would say “we are not going to come back after spring break’ and “school is going to be online”.  Of course, I thought this was just teenagers spreading rumors as I did not pay too much attention to it as I just looked forward to my spring break vacation on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.  

The week before spring break approached and gained speed as so did the rumors, although I still took them lightly as I didn’t really think anything was wrong.  The night before me and my roommate were leaving for spring break, we began packing some bags together to get ready to go our separate ways in the morning.  As we packed we began to talk crazy things we never thought would be true such as “what if this is our last night in the dorm together” or “do we pack all our clothes just in case” and the time we thought that was nonsense and did not believe it at all.  We finished packing hit the hay and both got on the road in the morning to head back to our separate cities for spring break with out families.  

As I was on my way home and exited to go on my first cruise my mom called and explained that our cruise has been cancelled due to Covid-19.  This moment is when I first thought ok maybe this virus is serious as I had an emotional ride home thinking that possibly could have been my last night in my dorm for my freshman year.  

As I get home, I get an alert from TCC that classes are now mowed to online for two weeks after spring break due to Covid-19 which I thought basically was just to give it some time to blow over.  My cruise became cancelled due to the rising number of cases of Covid-19.  Then we got even bigger news the United States government put us basically in a quarantine where you can only leave your house for necessities.  Once this came out and we still had no spring break plans and soon realized spring break was probably not a possibility.  That was until my aunt and mom found a nice big beautiful house in Islamorada, Florida down in the Florida Keys.  My family thought it was a great way to quarantine ourselves but still have a spring that we have had planned with them for about a year.  We packed our stuff and all sorts of food so we would not have to leave the house and headed down south for the week with hopes of this soon being over once we got back.  

Once we got to the huge beautiful house we stayed at and unpacked everything the news just continued to talk about how bad this virus is and how fast it is spreading.  They even put a new rule in place called “Social Distancing” which meant you could not be in groups of people bigger than 10 and in public you must stay 6 feet away from everyone.  This is when we knew ok this stuff is real.  As we enjoyed our spring break isolated from everyone like we were supposed to be, we then got some news that I did not want to hear at all and that was that most Florida colleges were doing the rest of the semester online.  

And once one college did it, they all did shortly after as one by one colleges were moving there semesters online and then boom there went my freshman year.  This was pretty devastating to me honestly; I was looking forward to moving back up there after spring break having a great time and cracking down on the books to ensure I would be at Florida State in the fall.  I then called my roommate that I grew so close to and we basically talked about how it is actually over and all the crazy good times and memories we had in our room is done.  

Although I had the thought of not being able to go back up there in the back of my head, I still tried to have a good time on our vacation which I did indeed.  The next couple of days went by and the virus just continued to spread and get worse as the number of Florida cases rose.  That day just like they did with my school they did with my little brothers’ middle school but for him he thought it was awesome that he did not have to go to school but he will soon realize how much he misses it.  

There was one good thing that happened during our quarantine in the Keys that shed a little bit of light and gave me and my family that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that was my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing legend quarter back Tom Brady.  My whole family is huge Buccaneers fans since we all live in Tampa and honestly this gave us a reason to forget about what was going on and gave us something to be happy and celebrate about.  While our mini celebration was going on down in our own little paradise things were just getting worse out in the real world and restaurants were still closed as well as anything not deemed a necessity was also closed.

As our little vacation came to an end my mother went to the Publix one last time to stock up so we would not have to leave the house when we are back home.  She loaded up the groceries we packed the car and headed back to reality to self-quarantine ourselves in our house.  Once we got back and unpacked myself quarantine did not last long as I begged my parents the whole ride home trying to convince them to allow me to go to St. Augustine to visit my girlfriend and her family.  

After 100 times of them telling me no they finally realized I would be doing the same thing I would be doing there than what I would do at home.  So, the next day I hit the road to St. Augustine to stay for a couple days there.  So, my quarantine started there instead of my house as we hung out there by just staying in the house.  I stayed there for four days and my family wanted me home so that’s when I headed home to start my real quarantine.  

Once I got home, I quickly got bored just like every other kid in America because not only am I stuck in my house, but I am stuck in my house with no televised sports or anything really.  There was honestly nothing to do at all and it has been rough, the highlights of my days for most of this quarantine so far has been me riding my bike around the block which is something I have not done since I was like 15 years old.  

The days have been just flying by and it feels I just do the same thing every day, just wake up do homework watch Netflix and go back to sleep.  That routine I just described I don’t even think that I could count he amount of times a day like that happened it has literally been my life every single day.  The school part of this I have some mixed emotions about because obviously it has been pretty cool not having to go to an actual class but at the same time by not actually being in the class I feel that I am not gaining an actual understanding for the material as I would be in a lecture or lesson.  In this case I feel that a lot of kids are just doing the bare minimum of what they have to do just to get by in these crazy times which I completely understand.  

During this time of misfortune and craziness I have been blessed and lucky that no one I know or in my family has contracted Covid-19 but I know if one of my close friends or family members did the last thing on my mind would be focusing on my school work so many kids could be in a pretty sticky situation with this going on but luckily I have not had t deal with it yet.  

And speaking of close friends being affected by the disease that has for sure taken a toll on me.  Due to the social distancing and self-quarantine rule I have not gotten to see any of my friends once.  The most friend activity I have gotten has been our weekly zoom calls that we put together once a week to see what everyone’s been doing even though we know no one has been doing anything at all.  Not only have I not seen my college friends that live in different cities around Florida I still haven’t even seen my life long best friends that less than 5 minutes from me.  It had been pretty rough not being able to see anyone except through the phone screen I can’t wait till the day I get out and am able to hang out and see everyone again but who knows when that will be honestly.

More days drag on of me doing the same thing with my days consisting of sleeping, eating, homework, and Netflix.  My life has still been the same no friends no leaving the house nothing at all really.  I soon get the exposure to friends as my girlfriend came and surprised me at my house one day,  she drove all the way down from St. Augustine to surprise me and stay for a couple days and it has been so long since I have seen someone in real life that wasn’t my family I almost forgot how to socialize with someone.  That was for sure the highlight of my Covid-19 experience.

  During this whole experience even some drive throughs near me have been closed which means yes I have not had Chick-Fil-A in over a couple weeks, this for sure has been a struggle due to my serious obsession with Chick-Fil.  That was until I heard some fabulous news, three days ago the Chick-Fil-A by my house announced they will now be open but drive thru only and boy was that music to my ears and yes I have been three days in a row,  I am actually eating nuggets currently as I am writing this.  The Chick-Fil-A opening gave me a little bit of hope that this will be done soon.  But my brother on the other hand is not too hopeful.  

My little brother is in 8th grade and at his school they treat them like seniors, so they have a graduation and 8th grade trips and all of that I got to go through when I was an 8th grader there.  But I his case everything has been cancelled and most of it he has been talking about for quite a long time so I feel pretty bad they he doesn’t get to experience anything like that but I guess it’s better than him being a senior right now.  Another way Covid-19 has been affecting my family is both of my parents are now having to work from home.  Both of their jobs are pretty hands on and cause them to be social they are both having a pretty difficult time trying to adjust and be productive through the phone and technology.  The day I am currently writing this is April 24, 2020 and the world is supposed to open back up around May 1, 2020 so we are almost there just got to keep praying and keep the faith and this will be over in no time. 

Cross Corinti 4/24/20